Authorities were able to find a missing 16-year-old girl after she caught the attention of a driver by using hand gestures popularized on the social media platform TikTok.
According to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office in Kentucky, the girl was inside a silver-colored Toyota car when the driver saw her using hand signals known on TikTok "to represent violence at home — I need help — domestic violence."
After recognizing what the signals meant and seeing that the teen "appeared to be in distress," the driver called 911, the sheriff's office said in a statement.
The alert led to the arrest of 61-year-old James Herbert Brick of Cherokee, North Carolina, Thursday afternoon while driving near a Kentucky interstate.
The teenager found inside the car Brick was driving had been reported missing by her parents in Asheville, North Carolina, Tuesday morning, Laurel County Sheriff John Root said in a statement.
The girl also told authorities she had traveled with Brick through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, according to the statement.
Investigators also located a phone in Brick's possession that "allegedly portrayed a juvenile female in a sexual manner," Root said.
Brick is facing charges for unlawful imprisonment and possession of material showing a sex performance by a minor over the age of 12 but under age 18, according to the sheriff's office. He's being held at the Laurel County Correctional Center on a $10,000 cash bond.
The sheriff's office did not describe the sign used by the teen, but a hand gesture first introduced by the Canadian Women’s Foundation last year has been adopted by many globally who need to discreetly ask for help or show they're in distress.
The gesture is a hand up, palm out, with the thumb tucked, then folding the fingers down.